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By Michael Hix

Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, through the first region of the 20 th century, Alabama-born organist and composer Lee Orville Erwin, like the various twentieth century’s nice American composers, hung out learning in Paris. From 1930 till 1931 Erwin studied in France with organist André Marchal and the concord lecturers Jean Verd and Nadia Boulanger. This formative event tremendously formed his compositional sort and aesthetic. Upon returning to the us, Erwin all started his long occupation in radio and tv operating with Arthur Godfrey. In 1967, Erwin was once commissioned through the yankee Theater Organ Society to compose organ song for the Gloria Swanson movie Queen Kelly. It was once this movie that led his profession again into the consoles of the good American theater organs. He toured commonly, taking part in millions of live shows of organ track in the course of silent movie showings. He therefore ushered within the silent movie revival, carrying on with the style of stay song functionality accompanying movie. Erwin, believing that cue sheets initially compiled for those movies throughout the silent movie period have been “full of the musical cliché’s of the 1920s,” composed new ratings to over a hundred silent films.

An American Organist in Paris offers Lee Orville Erwin's letters from France to his family members in 1930-1931. In those letters, Erwin recounts his day-by-day studies and encounters with a number of the twentieth century's maximum musicians and lecturers. He writes of his classes with Marchal, Verd, and Boulanger and dinner events with Olivier Messiaen. Erwin's letters not just give you the singular stories of a tender musician but additionally mirror the typical reports shared by means of the multitude of yankee composers who studied in France in this time. those letters are broadly footnoted to supply readability and historical past details of the destinations and personalities mentioned. A biographical bankruptcy on Erwin, which outlines his broad musical profession and impression at the silent movie track revival within the twentieth century, can also be integrated. This ebook will function a distinct glimpse into the lifetime of one in every of America's so much prolific composers for the theater organ.

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Extra info for An American Organist in Paris: The Letters of Lee Orville Erwin, 1930-1931

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This is a letter such as I don’t write very often. But I had so much to say; and still could go on, but it’s time to go to bed. I shall be looking forward to a letter from you, and I’ll write again before the week’s over. Hope you are all quite well and that everything [is] going along as it should. S. I am enclosing a blank check that I have signed so that you can get what I left in the Bham [Birmingham] bank out for me. There is no hurry for it at all, but just thought I’d send it along. indb 46 3/15/12 2:27 PM L ET T ERS T O MARY SH AVER ERWIN 47 14 Rue Royer-Collard Paris V, France Sunday Afternoon July 6, 1930 Dear Mother, Altho I have probably just as much to write I will not write such a long letter today on account of being slightly pressed for time.

47. Ibid. indb 33 3/15/12 2:27 PM 34 C HA P TER 2 48. Robert Slater, This Is CBS: A Chronicle of 60 Years (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1988), 148. 49. Jeff Weiler, “Lee Erwin: A Tribute,” Theatre Organ (January–February 2001), 13. The same sort of camaraderie that is seen between modern television host David Letterman and his music director Paul Shaffer seems to have existed between Erwin and Godfrey. 50. ” 51. Klos, “Portrait of Lee Erwin,” 10. 52. Jane Kampf was a wealthy jewelry store owner from Cincinnati.

Carter, The Million Dollar Life of Gaylord Carter, 185. 57. Gloria Swanson, Swanson on Swanson (New York: Random House, 1980), 368–75. 58. Allen W. Rossiter to the American Theatre Organ Enthusiasts, New York Theatre Organ Society, date unknown. 59. Raley Benet, “The Cinema,” Villager [Greenwich Village, NY], 27 April 1967, 12. 60. E. J. Quinby, Summit, NJ, to Lee Erwin, New York City, 9 May 1967. 61. Swanson to Erwin, 11 May 1967. In addition to this event at the Beacon Theatre in 1967, Erwin and Swanson toured various theaters across the country during 1975 with the same films and general format.

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